CHURCHBRIDGE - The Churchbridge Community Campground has earned the Town of Churchbridge recognition at the 15th Annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards.
Five innovative projects are being recognized.
The Saskatchewan Municipal Awards celebrate the excellent and innovative practices of Saskatchewan’s municipal governments. This year's winners have revitalized their communities through transformation and restoration.
First place went to Riverhurst Wetland (Village of Riverhurst) for restoring a local wetland that will provide both environmental and economic benefits to the community.
Second place is the Churchbridge Community Campground which has been developed into an asset which not only provides economic benefits through tourism but offers increased recreational opportunities for residents.
Renea Paridaen, Administrator with the town said several additions have been made to the campground recently.
“Two years ago the 12-hole Churchbridge Credit Union Disc Golf Course became a reality, utilizing the trees, bushes and other natural features throughout the park to create one of the area's most challenging disc golf courses,” detailed the nomination form for the award forwarded to Yorkton This Week by Paridaen. It's a popular sport for all ages which can even be played in the winter, offering a uniquely new, fun, and inexpensive form of outdoor physical activity.”
The town is also “currently in the midst of developing an extensive walking path network in and around the campground. When completed it will be approximately 1.3 kilometres in length, providing walkers with an interesting course weaving its way through stands of trees and, eventually, marshes.
“Although it has only been available for a year it has already proven to be a popular venue for young and old to enjoy a leisurely walk in nature, or a good, exhilarating jog.”
Other amenities have been added too.
“Two benches, sponsored by local businesses, have been located along the walk for folks to sit and simply enjoy the natural surroundings, with more benches to come as sponsors step forward,” noted the nomination. “To add some added attractions, local folks have been placing garden ornaments and bird feeders in various spots along the path.
“The path is groomed through the winter for cross-country skiers to enjoy, along with snowshoers and anyone else wanting to get out and enjoy nature and have a good, brisk walk through the snow.”
“For Halloween this year the local Churchbridge Players theatre group organized a Hallowed Walk, featuring spooky sights and live characters to add an entirely new and unexpected dimension to the trail.
The first time Halloween-themed day of family activities drew an estimated 500 people.
“The Churchbridge Public School makes use of the trail for cross-country ski lessons during the winter and other outdoor activities during the spring, summer and fall.
To make the Churchbridge Campground more amenable to cross-country skiers and others, as part of our Churchbridge 125 celebrations, a small activity building was constructed in the centre of the campground housing a woodstove and benches with an outside fire pit nearby.
During the summer, floral displays are planted around the building, and the winter windows are removed to make it a popular spot for groups and families to hold get-togethers in, all free of charge.
When several pieces of playground equipment were removed recently from the Churchbridge Public School yard town crews moved them over to the campground, adding yet another outdoor exercise option for the younger ones.
In exchange for a $5,000 grant to the school for its new equipment, the town moved a pair of two-seater swing sets to the campground children's play area.
The town's Parkland Library branch has made extensive use of the campground. This past summer it set up a ‘story walk’ in which each page of a popular children's book was presented on a panel along the walking path so families could read the story as they enjoyed a walk.
As well, the library ran an exciting ‘nature quest’ this past summer which was an interactive and game-themed treasure hunt which had kids reading and beating challenges to win prizes at the Library.
These new and very innovative activities helped the library promote and encourage individuals of all ages to come out, enjoy the campground, and get some exercise, while reinforcing the rewards of reading.
In an effort to make the campground more eco-appealing to future visitors, the town -- with help in planting by summer students and local volunteers, including town councillors and staff of a local business -- has taken on a major tree planting program. Some 210 trees, provided by SaskPower and the Assiniboine Watershed Authority at no cost to the town, were planted this year with more to be planted next spring.
As the old adage goes "what goes up must come down" and that applies to trees. Members of the Churchbridge Lions Club spent several afternoons this past spring and summer cutting down and trimming older, dead trees along the campground's fence line.
“We mention this because it's yet another example of how invested the town and its residents are in the development of the Churchbridge Campground's physical fitness opportunities,” detailed the nomination.
“The Churchbridge Campground, by itself, continues to be a source of pride for the community, offering the town an opportunity to warmly welcome and create a positive lasting impression on visitors from around the world, as well as contractors who call it their home during the summer construction season.”
The site is now a popular one locally, noted Paridaen.
“From the perspective of providing new physical fitness initiatives the park is a major success,” noted material she forwarded. Walkers enjoy the path for early morning wake-up jogs, relaxed afternoon walks, to evening runs.
“The disc golf course has proven to be a popular new activity and the course hosts an annual tournament which draws disc golfers from throughout the province.
“Our pre-K to Grade 12 school makes use of the park for a variety of phys.ed. purposes throughout the year.
“Often the activity building is used for birthday parties and other private social events.”
The winners will be celebrated at the SARM Annual Convention and Tradeshow on March 15 at 11:30 a.m. and the SUMA 2022 Convention and Tradeshow on April 5 at 1:35 p.m. Both events will be taking place at the Queensbury Convention Centre in Regina.